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All WC stations at 92% capacity: Acting commissioner

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All 150 police stations in the Western Cape are at 92% capacity in terms of fixed establishment, with vacancies only created by retirements, resignations, deaths and ill health.

These were the words of acting provincial police commissioner Major General Thembisile Patekile on Thursday after community safety MEC Dan Plato said earlier in the day 85% of police stations in the province were under resourced.

“Moves are afoot to enhance resources at police stations especially those areas hard hit by violent crimes. Thus far, with effect from 01 September 2015, a total of 500 police constables have been deployed at precincts throughout the province,” Patekile said in a statement.

“In addition, 1 200 students earmarked for Western Cape stations, are currently undergoing police training. As the SAPS management we are in the process of re-enlisting some 110 competent members who had left the police and have applied to be of service to the nation again.”

Patekile said it was also worth noting from time to time, settlements expanded rapidly to a point where they outgrow the police resources initially assigned to them.

“In that case, we conduct work study investigations in order to determine whether additional resources in the form of a police station, satellite station or contact point will be required,” the acting provincial commissioner said.

“Cases in point would be areas such as Brown’s Farm, Du Noon, Masiphumelele, Samora Machel, Makhaza and others. In as far as Nyanga is concerned, interventions have been put in place to address serious and violent crimes in the precinct.”

Operation Stopper was launched in September, with many police officials deployed in the area to tackle the serious crimes plaguing the township.

“That initiative is already yielding results in Nyanga, Samora Machel and Brown’s Farm,” Patekile said.

Earlier, Plato said the worst areas affected by crime in the Western cape had a police-to-population ratio over twice the national average of one officer for every 258 people.

He said the stations with the worst ratios included Harare (Khayelitsha) with 1:878; Nyanga (1:777); Delft (1:693); Mfuleni (1:671); Kraaifontein (1:642); Gugulethu (1:619) and Khayelitsha (1:556).

“These police to population ratios make it abundantly clear why communities are complaining about a breakdown in the relationship with the police. The limited resources are hampering visible policing efforts,” Plato said.

“Recruitment figures by the SAPS for the Western Cape show how, since 2009, there has been a steady disinvestment of manpower in the province.”

According to the figures, Plato said there has been a “steady disinvestment” of manpower since 2009, with a drop from 1967 new recruits in 2009, to 22 in 2013.

“Though recruitment figures increased in 2014 [to 549], this is completely overshadowed by the 770 police officers who left the service in 2014/2015,” he said.

“SAPS need to properly resource the precincts hardest hit by crime, while working with the provincial and local government to create safer environments.” News24

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